Wow! Yes! What?! YES! Wait…what?
Above you will find the reactions I had while playing The Wolf Among Us‘ ridiculous finale, Cry Wolf. Before we get to the breakdown of what happened in this episode, I’d like to take a minute to talk about how the entire story played out, now that we’re through it all. The Wolf Among Us, as a five part story, was probably Telltale’s best take on a story that I have seen yet. No offense intended for The Walking Dead, their other wildly popular series, but they just seemed to have knocked it out of the park with this story. A gritty, noir-esque story that is both original and also loosely based on a comic book series are all ingredients for an amazing experience, and something no one should miss out on.
As we did with episode 4, we’re going to eschew from the normal review process, as we already know what can be wrong with the console version of this system (in fact, while playing, my Xbox 360 continued to overheat, in a very deliberate attempt to sabotage me). Instead, we will breaking down moments from this episode, and discussing why they were so great. Let’s get started!
- Instant Action. Telltale obviously knew what they were doing when they thought up the beginning of this episode. Dying for some payback against The Crooked Man and his goons, the game thrusts you into a fight almost immediately. Stabbing Georgie, knocking out (or killing?) Jersey, and also getting Tweedledee stabbed was amazing gratification for all the trouble we’ve gone through so far.
- The Pudding N’ Pie. To me, this was probably one of the best moments of the entire episode. Chasing Georgie and Vivian back to their club, you find out a lot about the two of them, and how they may not have intended life to happen the way it did. It was clear there was no way to save Vivian or Georgie, and as Georgie said “sometimes all the options are shit.”. If you did not pull Vivians ribbon out, watching her take her own life and seeing Georgie’s reaction to it was sad enough, but seeing the “Pie” tattoo on his hand as he grabbed for Vivian made it clear this wasn’t just a business partner for him.
- Bloody Mary. Sheesh. If she wasn’t scary enough, her fight definitely added a whole new layer of horror to her. Seemingly flying around the world, and then making a ton of copies of herself (what IS her power, anyway?), Bloody Mary’s fight proved to be the toughest for Bigby. Not to mention her final, true form; a horrific, demonic woman with glass stabbed all throughout her body.
- Bigby’s True Self. Oh man. OH MAN. Speaking of ridiculous true forms, Bigby’s reveal during the Bloody Mary fight was almost too much. Taking an insane beating from the gang of Mary’s, Bigby has no choice but to let himself go and let the wolf take over, and boy does it take over. Transforming into a gigantic wolf, he easily tears apart the Mary’s, and even showcases just how strong his breath is. Saving this moment until the near end, and for the last fight of the game was a very smart choice.
- The Crooked Man. I’m not going to speak about the end of the episode just yet, but as villains go, The Crooked Man is probably the best Telltale has offered up yet. Not your typical violent, angry villain, The Crooked Man instead is a very cold, calculated, and shrewd businessman. He offers up no real fight to Bigby when they meet, and when he’s taken in for trial (assuming you don’t kill him on the spot), he showcases his true talent; smooth talking. He is almost able to sway Fabletown back to his side, as he knows that no one has any true evidence against him. It’s this sort of villain; a smart, smooth talking, not a necessarily evil madman hell bent on destruction, that is jarring to me.
- Justice. Justice is a strong theme throughout the game, and a concept that is brought up even until the very end. The Crooked Man wonders what type of justice we’re looking for in the end; do we want to do what’s right, or just be seen as a hero? Fabletown has a very real problem with justice, as they have almost no clue how to go about handling it. They want justice for the murders of Lilly and Faith, but they don’t want fair trials for the accused. As guilty as The Crooked Man is, he was very right when he compared the town to rats fleeing one sinking ship for another. With Bigby/Snow at the helm of the town now, at least there is a hope for some form of justice.
- Closure (Kind of.) This episode gave us closure in a very loose definition of the word. Yes, Faith and Lilly’s murders have been resolved, and maybe The Crooked Man was dealt with for good reasons, but there are still pressing matters that need addressing; Tweedledee and Jersey, both of whom may or may not be dead, are still out there. We never got to really SEE the Farm, and I still wonder what type of activity goes on there for everyone to be so fearful of it. While I’m sure these matters will be addressed in Season 2, it was a little disappointing not to have some more closure. However, the game ends on an even bigger cliffhanger, with our final moment..
- Nerissa…? Now, here is where the game takes a turn for the weird. We’ve just killed (or imprisoned) The Crooked Man, given the town some semblance of justice, and are on the right track towards a better existence. Of course, everything cannot be perfect for Bigby, and that stands true when Nerissa comes to see him, and confesses that it was she who put Faith’s head on Bigby’s doorstep, hoping that Bigby would catch on and solve the case. It was also she who indirectly caused Faith and Lilly’s murder, as Faith had come across photos of Crane and “Snow White”. After forgiving her, Bigby does some thinking as Nerissa walks off, and notices a lot of similarities between things that Faith and Nerissa have said to Bigby, and then it dawns on him; Is Faith actually Nerissa? While we can’t know for sure, the game certainly hints at it enough to make me convinced. Let’s break down some clues:
- The women at the Puddin N’ Pie will commonly glamour themselves in order to cover shifts.
Faith’s head would NOT turn back to Nerissa, because the spell tube was not broken.
Faith, according to her legend, is a master of disguise.
- The mirror could not find Faith in Episode 1, instead telling Bigby his “lips are sealed”. I wonder what other character says that..
Snow tells Bigby Dr. Swineheart needs to run more tests on the head of “Faith”, which is strong evidence he doesn’t believe it is her.
- Bufkin tells Bigby Faith had to flee from her father in disguise, which is eerily similar to what she’s doing at the end of the episode.
All of these clues lead to the fact that Nerissa is in fact Faith, glamoured so that she can escape town from the people who meant to do her harm. The quote at the end of the game, “See ya later…Wolf.” is obviously something Faith told Bigby, and it hints at her being either very much alive, or still very relevant to the game. The other, seemingly more likely scenario, is that it was Nerissa who had been leading Bigby around the entire game. She saw Faith get murdered, glamoured herself as Faith and met Bigby, hoping to lead him to catching The Crooked Man once and for all.
When all is said and done, The Wolf Among Us took an amazing comic book, turned it into an even more amazing game, and managed to leave us both satisfied and craving more, which is really something to be proud of. If/when a Season 2 comes out, there will still be things needed to uncover, and Bigby seems like he has a lot more in store for him. For now, however, all we can do is guess at what’s to come.